Aims low. So this is about two unsuccessful men (Jake Johnson, Damon Wayans Jr.) who are both at turning points in their lives. When they go to a masquerade party dressed as police officers and realize that the costumes are high caliber enough to pass for real cops, it isn’t long before they’re letting the power trip go to their heads. I like Jake Johnson more often than not (Drinking Buddies, Safety Not Guaranteed), and he is the main reason why I gave this a shot. After a Haunted House 2, all of the Wayans brothers can drop off the face of the planet for all I care, and no, I do not think I am being harsh.
Now I thought the trailer for this looked decent, and it gave me a few chuckles here and there. I would say the movie itself is the same way, with there occasionally being a throwaway line that works. The thing about this is that it will take a gag that sort of works, milk it to the point of not being funny anymore, and then push it to the turning point of being annoying. For example, when they first realize the power that these cop costumes have, Damon Wayans Jr. uses his authority as a lawman to get these burly, Russian gangsters to put their hands on their heads. He then proceeds to make them dance, which falls flat, and it culminates with Wayans getting really into his dancing and grinding against a pole, at which point you give up. This movie is also a lot like that.
You know exactly where this is going from the moment they dress up as cops, and being that so much of what makes comedy work is the element of surprise, being able to predict almost every plot development at every turn really doesn’t help the humor here. It’s a lot of comedy set pieces, and being that every joke gets pushed to the point of exhaustion, it feels overlong, even for a modest 105 minutes. I also had a pretty big disconnect with the following recurring element: so Damon Wayans Jr. is the straight man to Jake Johnson’s funny man, and he resists every single dumb idea that Johnson suggests. No problem there, but Wayans breaks and gives in every time Johnson says, “oh, c’mon!” and it just feels like weak and lazy writing. This movie is flimsy at best, and while you will likely get a few laughs from it, Let’s Be Cops is ultimately not worth the time.
Let’s Be Cops (2014) **1/2
– Critic for Hire